Thursday, May 31, 2018

Dear Diary

What happened to you yesterday, Fiorella? Well, first I learned that friend Paula and brother Bill are sick. Then I accidently left my purse at home and had to bum my Starbucks cookie and milk off friend Evelyn, and when I got home, I learned that Husband had called our doctor about some disturbing symptoms and she'd told him to go to the ER. Three hours later, he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Oh, and when I was running around doing errands, I learned that the place my critique group usally meets in is being renovated and won't be available for at least a month.
Fio sent the first 100 pages of Lolly's story off to a couple of friends to look at. She's especially concerned about anachronisms because this story was written six years ago and electronics have changed things a lot since then.
She's also sending friend Evelyn a few excepts from the biblical book of Ruth to back up her reference to Ruth and Boaz. It's a Cinderella story, but Ruth has to make the first move.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Thinking It Over

Fiorella was born with her cornucopia overflowing. She had an eye for painting, drawing, and design. She had an ear for languages and music---singing and composition. And a flair for acting. And a talent for writing--plays and poems and essays articles and short stories and novels. None of it has really gotten her anywhere, but maybe, if she's lucky, in a hundred or so years, her work will be recognized and lauded on an Antiques Road Show program.
Has Fio told you that in the intensive clean-up of her office, she has found several short stories that she'd forgotten she'd written? You can bet that a book of those babes is going to be out on Amazon one of thse days.
Fio is the beloved of the bugs, and she has the bites to prove it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Rote Learning

Fiorella is disturbed by the current trend to teach classes by Power Point and YouTube. Where is originality? Where is individuality? Are we producing a generation of automatons? Are there no allowances for classroom back-and-forth, for different learning types, for different viewpoints, for creative thinking? Where does the teacher come into the scene except as a button pusher? Where is the uniqueness, the personality, the coats of many colors?

Fio's own education is a blend of life experience, friends, her family, and every teacher she has ever had. As a teacher herself, she taught not only from her knowledege but from her personality. Yes, the subject matter was important, and she tried to present it in the most interesting, engaging way possible, but it was just as important  to her to be a role model of fairness, kindness, good decision-making, and cool, clear analytical thinking. Can YouTube do that?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Dog, Chase Bank, Breakfast, Amusement,

Sonia Dog took her mommy for a walk down to the dry creek, and, of course, Fio immediately began hauling fallen branches up the hill to the concrete driveway for use as future firewood. Miffed, Sonia trotted around to the front porch and yipped to be let in. Mommy's attention should have been on her, not those rotten old logs.πŸ•
It looks like Fio has at last settled her three-month feud with Chase Bank regrading the $319.05 they owe her, but she's not holding her breath. And even if they do pay up, they're still in debt to her: $4 for a photocopy, $.85 for a Fax, and about $50,000 for pain and suffering.😠
Breakfast in bed--where did the idea come from? It looks good in comic strips and movies, but in real life, the drink overturns, crumbs carpet the bed, and the recipient is the one who has to clean πŸ™„everything up.
 Fiorella has a talent for saying the audacious. It amuses her, but then, as Husband says, she is easily amused.🀣
Pray for Fio. She is going to try to learn how to use GPS this week.😊

Sunday, May 27, 2018


When we first moved into our five-and-a-third acres of heavily wooded wilderness, I planned to tame it, to make the grounds charming and accesible, but as the years passed by, I grew to love the land as it was. I'd like to stay here forever but know that one day I will have to move to more appropriate lodgings. Not that my absence will be forever--when I die, my spirit will return to this acreage to wander around in the woods, talk to the rocks and the trees, and keep guard over any children who are drawn to explore the wonderful, beautiful wilderness I love so much.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hidden Treasures

It was with a weary heart that Fiorella began the clean-up of her office where she'd been not only writing herself crazy, but stashing away everything she didn't know what else to do with. The three sets of floor-to-ceiling shelves and the two standing files were overflowing, there were piles of papers on the floor, and the futon had been turned into a  depository for whatever else she didn't know what to do with. But two weeks in, she's begun to enjoy herself.

First off, she discovered old student evaluation accolades, which warmed her heart. Then came the family history stuff she'd forgotten she had. And copies of newspaper and magazine stories, booklets, poems, and travel diaries she'd written. All that and she's not even half-way through. Wonder what treasures she'll find when when she goes through her art closet?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Secret Post

Husband made Fio very angry by insisting on telling her in detail about the true story of an Irish girl who was tortured and killed as a "changeling" because she was too smart for her own good. When Fio realized where the story was going, she cut him off.

The girl had been a real person, for God's sake, not a fictional character, and Fio felt for her!

Of course, Husband struck back by saying that if Fio didn't want to hear the story, she should have told him so first off. So now Fio isn't saying a thing to him, but she sure is writing a lot. Anger fuels her, and she learned long ago--as a child, in fact--that one can write what one is not allowed to say.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

In the Making

Why did Fiorella use up all her good posts yesterday? Today she'll just have to fill the space by teasing you with a story she's working on:

 “Thanks for not saying anything to the boys about Keith , Lolly.  I’m filing for divorce this time, but he’s still their father.”  She dug into the ice cream with a plastic paddle.  “I don’t understand him anymore.  Maybe he’s having some kind of mid-life crisis, but, my God, he’s just thirty-six, the same age I am.”
“You said he’d done it before?”
“He’s had a few flings, and he totally ran out on me once, but it’s never gone this far.  Lolly, he’s actually talking about marrying this—this girl—he‘s shacked up with.”
“How old is she?”
“Eighteen, for God’s sake!  Just four years older than Eric!”
“How’d he meet her?”
“At a bar on Sixth Street.  Where else?”
“This is so weird, Sarah.  I’ve never known Keith to drink anything but diet colas until that night he went after me.”
“When he jumps the traces, he goes all the way.  It’s like a different personality takes over.”
“Do you think it could be some sort of psychological disorder.”
“No.  Actually I think it’s his real personality bursting through the sham.”
“You think he’s been faking it all along?”
 “Yeah.  I think he figured out how to latch onto a rich wife and to get ahead, but the role began wearing thin.  That’s why he was staying away from the house more and more—it certainly wasn’t because he was so popular at the hospital.  I called his nurse right after I got home from Bisque Bend and she told me he’d been suspended.  And now he’s staging a raid on the house to grab the boys.”
“Dad and Cotton will handle that.”  At least she prayed they would.  Oh, God, she hoped Cotton was okay—and Dad, of course, but while she’d always love Dad, Cotton was her primary concern now.
Sarah finished scooping out the ice cream and opened a drawer for spoons.  “Keith’s beginning to scare me.”
A shadowy figure knocked on the kitchen door and the spoons clattered to the floor.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Here and There

Fiorella taught creative writing for two glorious semesters, but she got in trouble with the powers-that-be by not using a textbook because she believed--and still does--that textbook exercises and instructions are counter-productive when it comes to creativity. She wanted her students to draw inspiration from within themselves, not from textbooks.
Has Fio ever told you that Husband is a second-generation birder, that his parents traveled all over the world to so his mother could add exotic birds to her list? That she was actually world-ranked at one time?
As Fiorella has told you, she is now engaged in making her office livable, which means she's plowing through at least a ton of pages, books, and whatnots. Her old teaching stuff can go (although she's keeping the student evaluation accolades), but the books are mostly destined for donation to the Georgetown library, and the whatnots will be tossed or pawned off on friends and family. However, every precious page on which Fio has written an essay, poem, or story will be treasured forever.
Fio was in a blue funk earlier in the day, frustrated by not being able to do anything about the school shootings, by the nonsense in DC, and by not being able to walk without pain because she'd been to the podiatrist the day before. Then, when she was at her lowest, Husband proposed driving over to Dairy Queen for dipped cones. Sonia Dog accompanied us (although she, of course, requested a Puppy Cup) and we all had a great time. Thanks, you, honey. Thank you, DQ.
Fio has a hair appointment tomorrow with friend Deborah. Nothing like a stylist you've been going to for at least twenty-five years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

God Is Good

Fiorella had opened her consciousness to its limits to pick up ideas for Diana's story that might be floating in the air when she suddenly went into a wonderful state in which her skin prickled with sensitivity and wave after wave of  awareness raced through her. She couldn't stop smiling as the air around her warmed with the love of all who had gone before her: her parents and grandparents, her parents-in-law, Mrs. Paule, Mrs. Gus, Miss Osborn, Aunt Julie, Aunt Helen,  Sharon Kite, all her pets--everyone. It was like she called role and everyone was there, comforting her, encouraging her, amf it was glorious, wonderful, and miraculous, all at the same time.

And yes, she asked for permission from them before telling you about this.

Monday, May 21, 2018


It was dark and rainy, with rolls of thunder drowning out conversation and sending the dog scurrying into the first floor bathroom--and not a good day for me either. For two, maybe three, hours, I lay on the couch, curled up into a ball of frustration and anger because my computer had betrayed me and my cell phone wouldn't charge.

Ticker-tapes of messages I couldn't quite read began making their way behind my closed eyes, and I realized my anger was about more than electronics. What I was really furious about was that I now live in a world in which it has become the norm for children to kill classmates en masse every few months, in which corruption and self-aggrandizement are lauded, in which lying is call truth, and in which I can do nothing, NOTHING, to set things straight.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Now that computers can perform every task from the magnificant to the mundane,  human beings are becoming increasingly obsolete.

And speaking of computers, Isadora really pulled a number on Fio, refusing to produce what Fiorella assumed had been saved the previous evening, Yours truly went ballistic all over FB, screamed enough to wake the dead, shouted no-no-no several hundred times, threw her shoes across the room, then picked them up and threw them again, after which she cried a lot and went into a a deep, angry depression.

Something must be done about Isadora. She is too complicated. Things that took one tap of a key on Dora take three steps or more on Isadora. And everytime Fio tries to write, unwanted suggestions are hurled at her. Besides, she guzzles power and always seems to be out of gas.

Fiorella was thrilled to be able to buy a computer similar to her old one, but too many bells and whistles have been added.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Fiorella is sad and outraged. ANOTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING! When will the carnage end? It's like we're sacrificing our children to a volcano god. Posting her vitriol on FB and screaming her heart out in the backyard is the only way Fio can express herself right now, but she will soon think of other ways. One thing she will make sure no one ever forgets is that ten dead bodies now lie at Trump's door. Parkland was his wake-iup call, but he ignored it.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fio on Her Soapbox

If Fio and Husband survive Sonia, Fiorella wants her replacemnt to be an elderly dog from the pound.
A CAGED TIGER AT A HIGH SCHOOL PROM? What happend to the crepe-papered gym and teachers who made sure girls' necklines weren't too rvealing and none of the boys spiked the punch? What happened to our values? And did any school funds go into renting the tiger?
Fio does not wish anyone ill, but she does wish some people betterment.
Your faithful corespondent is an action kinda gal. She doesn't have time to ponder the secrets of the universe because she's so involved with the here and now.
Fiorella doesn't care if you curse like the proverbial sailor, but she is totally turned off if you say mean things, it hurts her heart.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Writing, Royalty, Spiders, Artists, Weirdos

If the piles of papers on the shelves of her office are any indicator, Fiorella probably has a copy of everything she ever wrote, which is both wonderful and horrifying.
Has anyone besides Fio noticed that Harry and Meghan have the same nose?
Fio would rather not kill things, but the house seems to be crawling with spiders right now.
All artists are crazy, but Fiorella is crazier than most. If you're born with The Eye, you see the world way too intensely. No wonder Van Gogh cut off his ear.
It can be very lonely if you're different from the norm. It can also be a lot of fun.

"He's Dying Anyway."

Actually, my dear, we are all dying from the moment we were born, but some of us make better use of our time on earth than vapid blondes hired for their sex appeal who say dumb, callous things like you did because they have neither brains nor  hearts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Humpty Trumpty has bet on a wall
Humpty Trumpty will have a great fall
And all the king's horses, all the king's men
Will refuse to put Humpty together again

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Fiorella's Teeth

Fiorella can remember the tenth grade, when it seemed like everyone in high school was wearing metal bands across their teeth. Everyone but her, that is. Fio was the girl who was so self-conscious about her teeth that she tried never to smile, especially if there was a photographer in range.

She had an overbite, a gap between her two front teeth, and undersized laterals (her father's line), but there was no convincing her parents that she needed braces. Good, healthy teeth were all that mattered.

But when Fiorella married (her bridal picture shows a closed-mouth, solemn-looking young woman), her mother-in-law graciously volunteered to pay for dental work. Four caps and a year of braces later,  Fiorella began to smile again.

Needless to say,, when Daughter developed an under-bite (her great-grandmother on Husband's side), Fio immediately signed her up for orthodontics.

Monday, May 14, 2018

From the Past to the Future

Fio has started cleaning out her upstairs office, and this afternoon, she went through a bundle of stuff from when she was teaching--accolades from students, their parents, and colleagues. Needless to say, she's not tossing a single page. In fact, she may even request they all be put in her coffin as grave goods.
Hip, hip hooray! Fio and friend Patricia are off and running on the romance/murder mystery, and the ideas are flying fast and furious. Keep an eagle eye out for excerpts.
Sabrina's story (formerly Phillipa's story) is riding high. Fiorella is whizzing through 40 pages of revisions a day now, but will probably slow down to about 20 per day when she crosses the halfway mark. The good thing is that she's finally worked out all the plot knots so all that's left is pulling the whole thing together (gulp).
Lolly's story got a solid boost last week when Fiorella had to close down the murder mystery until friend Patricia got back from California, and Fio is more excited about it than ever. It's wonderful to start reading something you packed away five years ago and realize it is hot, hot, hot!
Fio's gradually adjusting to her new computer, but she's going to have to run off to Click tomorrow to learn how to make her Kindle reappear and how to "find" numbered pages. She'll also visit a Michael's store for adhesive alphabet letters and Mazda for touch-up paint. Yes, your Fio is a busy bee.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day, Baby, Educational Technology, Emojis

What a wonderful, wonderful pre-Mother's Day celebration! Daughter and Austin Son invited Fio and Husband to join then at Central Market yesterday to catch up with Baby, who, you remember, is walking now. She's also full of personality and curiosity. I think I L O V E her. πŸ’—
Fiorella needed information about the current use of information technology in colleges for her WIP so she consulted with a couple of her former colleagues and got an earful. Seems that everything takes twice as long now because of the multiple steps needed for the machines to process themselves. Also, teachers are encouraged to use test banks for exams rather than compose their own. Years ago, one of Fio's fellow teachers predicted that in the future, only the children of the rich would have human teachers, and sadly, it looks like he was right.😒
Note the use of the heart emoji in my entries. Yes, Fio finally figured out how to pull them up. Watch for more to come.😊

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Strength, Clothes, Trump, Miss Osborn, $$$

Fiorella was born to be a draft horse. She's better at pulling than pushing, at least with garbage cans.
If Fio is ever confronted by a baddie who holds a gun on her and tells her to strip, she will refuse because nakedness would dehumanize her and make it easier for him to kill her. Clothes make not just the man, but the human.
Sorry, Trump, I like presidents who don't get caught.
When my hairdresser retires, I'm going to grow my hair long, braid it, and wind it around my head like Miss Osborn, my high school Latin teacher.
Did Fiorella tell you that for about three months she has been pursuing a problem with a bank me$$ing up on a financial dealing with her? Would it be okay if she told you that she is on the verge of getting her money back?

Friday, May 11, 2018

What's on Your Mind, Fiorella?

Fiorella has been on a de-clutter binge for the last couple of years, sort of like when Monica scream-sings "Throw away, throw away!" in "The Medium." Right now, she's going through old, moldering pages from years ago--poems, drawings, short stories, newspaper clips, partially-written novels and theses, copies of tests she gave her students, and more. Any takers?
Sheldon and Amy's wedding was the highlight of Fio's television week. It was not only cute, sweet, and funny, but it took took her mind off Trump for a thirty whole minutes.
Fio is convinced that if you know how to say "hello" and "thank you" in ten different languages, the world is your oyster.
Sonia Dog's main goal in life is to love and be loved, which is one of the reasons that Fio loves her so much.
Mother would not approve of anything this outrageous, but Fiorella has moved the furniture around in the den so that it's all at a slant to the walls of the room. The rearrangement was necessitated by Husband's recliner being the only thing at a slant and driving Fiorella nuts.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Peep Show

OMG, has Fio gotten behind on her blog again? Well, she'll just have to give you a clip from one of her novels in progress:

Now, how about some of Aunt Sarah’s cow juice before she went to bed?  Lolly grabbed a paper cup from the cupboard and walked to the refrigerator.  As she started to pour the milk, the back door opened. 
Damn, she’d forgotten to set the security alarm.  Uncle Keith must be making it home for once, and here she was, barefoot, wearing nothing but bikini panties and a Harry Potter nightshirt.   But what the heck.  After all, he was Aunt Sarah’s husband.  Besides, he was a doctor, and he’d seen people a lot more naked than she was.
She flashed him a smile and lifted the milk bottle in greeting.  “Just finishing an assignment and thought I’d celebrate a little before I went back to bed.” 
Putting her cup down on the counter, she turned to replace the milk on the refrigerator shelf.
Rough hands reached around to enclose her breasts and she was overwhelmed by alcohol fumes. Uncle Keith’s voice was guttural and his words slurred. “Been wondering if these jugs were real.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Generational Analysis

Mother signed Fio up for every uplifting or educational activity available, from summer day camp to twirling to swimming to theater. She also volunteered to, in turn, be a home-room mother, head a Brownie troop, and participate in PTA. She made most of Fiorella's clothes, kept the cleanest house on the block, convinced Dad to buy a piano for Fio, provided Fio with art materials, introduced her to poetry, and encouraged her to read every book in the house. Mother was a woman with strong values, and Fiorella could not have had a better parent. She loved her mother very much.

But Fio, if you loved your mother so much, why do you give her so much negative press?

Because she was my mother and I modeled myself after her. Thus it is important for me to explore every aspect of her to understand myself, as I hope my daughter will do in regard to me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Earrings and Long Hair

Fio needs to follow up on yesterday's post and explain about her parents not wanting her to look like someone from across the sea. As the offspring of immigrant families, it was imperative to them that their own family fit in, and to them, pierced ears were an immediate negative indicator. Another negative indicator was long hair. Always the romantic, Fiorella preferred to let her locks hang down her back, but, although barrettes or rubber hands were always involved, they were not enough for Mother. Thus, when Fio was in the third grade, she persuaded Fio to get her hair cut, but by the time Fiorella reached high school, it was half-way down her back again. This time, Mother bribed her with going to a beauty shop every month. Then came college and, out from under parental control, Fiorella let her hair grow out again until she turned forty and decided to grow up.

Strangely enough, Mom always told Fio that it was Dad who wanted her to get her hair cut, but he himself never said a word to Fio about it. In fact, he seemed oblivious.

Monday, May 7, 2018


Fiorella was not born with pierced ears. In fact, when she was a child, respectable women wore clip-on earrings, and Mother had a very nice collection of them. But by the time Fio went to college, styles had changed, and Fio noted that the most dashing girls on campus had holes in their earlobes. However, it wasn't till she was married two years later that she got up the nerve to venture off to a doctor's office and get her own ears pierced. Her parents, who regarded pierced ears as a dead give-away of a woman being "foreign," were taken aback, but finally came around and even eventually gave Fio a pair of lovely of pearl and gold studs for Christmas. Of course, Fio being Fio, she later indulged herself in gypsy hoops and danglers, but not in her parents' presence. They would have been afraid her flamboyant ear gear made her look more like someone who'd just hopped off the boat than ever.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


We have the last fully-blooming bluebonnets in our neighborhood, probably because our acreage is more sheltered than anyone else's. This is our last patch for the year. The others have gone to seed.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

What's Up with You, Fiorella?

Fiorella is working on three books at once now. The first one is that book she's been trying to finish up for more than a year, the heroine of which used to be named Phillipa but is now named Sabrina. The second one is a romance she got half-way through ten years ago and had to abandon because her agent and editor didn't like the eleven-year age difference between the hero and heroine. The third one is brand-spankin' new--a collusion with friend Patricia--and it's really exciting because it's a murder mystery starring a mature (= middle-aged) woman who teaches computer science on the college level.

Of course, in the meantime, Fiorella is handling family finances, laying down rocks and pruning cedars, keeping up friendships and relationships, learning languages, and trying to make the world a better place.  Yeah, with Fio, it's always full speed ahead. She was born that way.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Circus Has Come to DC

Fiorella is fascinated with the latest turns the Mueller investigation has taken. First of all, Tump's own lawyers looked at Mueller's topic list, made up questions from it, then blabbed them to the world. Second, Trump's new lawyer, the same old Giuliani, took the situation into a whole new direction by proclaiming that Trump had repaid Cohen the $130K that Cohen had paid to Stormy Daniels to shut her up about her one-night liason with the orange one, contradicting Trump's claim that he never knew about the payoff. And, of course, earlier in the week, Trump had let the cat out of the bag in trying to distance himself from Cohen by saying he only used him for taking care of things like the Stormy Daniels situation.

Yeah, it's high times in DC right now! Stay tuned for the next exciting installment!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Languages, Trump, Inspirations

Fiorella's at it again--the language thing--and she's attacking on a couple of different fronts. There's the Spanish, of course, which friend Juana reinvigorated by sending over a pack of cards with messages in Spanish on them, and there's the Hindi, Bengali, and Vietnamese, which Fio is quizzing her new friends at Capital One abour.
It's fascinating to watch the rats leaving Trump's sinking ship.His long-time doctor is now coming forward with his story, but one wonders--did he really expect Trump to remain loyal to him? Didn't he understand that the only person that Trump is loyal to is himself?
Where do you get your ideas for what happens in your stories, Fiorella? From life, my dear. Yesterday afternoon, the rhythm of the road lulled me into a hypnotic trance when I was returning home from Austin, and I overshot the exit to Georgetown by about five miles and had to turn around. You can bet that's going to end up in my next book.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Confessions Old and New

Fiorella has a shawl around her shoulders to ward off the chills and a Kleenex in her hand to tend to her dripping nose. Yes, she is sick after all, probably a bad cold, but whatever it is, Fio doesn't like it and wants it to go away fast. She is not accustomed to enui.
Mother could never bring herself to lie so she had Fio do it for her--not often, but it happened. Fio particularly remembers the occasions (no more than three) when mother had her call her ride to the Sunday School teachers' meeting and tell them she was sick. The situation both mystified and scared Fiorella. She didn't understand the difference between social lying and real lying. And still doesn't.
Fio has feet like a duck--big, wide, and flat--but they serve her well. Quack.

Just once, Fiorella would like to wake up in the morning without a to-do list a mile long. But if she did, the first thing she'd do is look around for what needed to be done.
The upside of being down is that Fio has shed those five extra pounds those wascally chocowate wabbits put on her over Easter.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Mixed Bag

Just when Fio thinks everything is hunky-dory, her baby car refuses to turn over when she comes come back from delivering boxes to her INR nurse for a future move, her new computer decides not to let Fio "save," and her body decides to come down sick. On the other hand, friend Patricia has set up an electronic route which allows her and Fio to send story ideas back and forth, friend Jane/Juana has sent Fio a pack of Spanish cards that she can carry in her purse for odd moments, and she's recovered from whatever bug had her down. Guess it evens out, but Fiorella sure would like to get ahead of the curve.